The US-led effort to rebuild the Iraq's ground forces has not produced the planned results, according to a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the US effort to counter the Islamic State.
Released by the GAO on 18 July, the report is a declassified version of one sent to Congress in April and investigated nine aspects of the campaign, the first of which was helping to rebuild the Iraqi forces that collapsed during the Islamic State offensive in 2014.
The original plan as outlined in budget documents was to train nine Iraqi Army and three Kurdish brigades, each of which would be equipped with around 5,200 individual weapons as well as various crew-served weapons and vehicles.
The GAO report said that, as of July 2016, the brigades that had been trained were at 60% of their planned strength. It attributed this failure to problems with recruitment, retention, and desertions.
The report also said only half of the brigades that have been trained and equipped have improved their operational capabilities. It noted that the two most capable brigades, which it did not identify, were able “to conduct offensive operations with coalition assistance in most categories of operational readiness, such as leadership and ability to use combined arms tactics”.
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